We are all a product of our environment. Whether it is our family, friends, employers, co-workers and others, over time, we undoubtedly form an identity based on those people we choose, or in some cases don’t choose, to surround ourselves with. So, when I read that Frank Shannon, the OU linebacker who was suspended for a year by the university after a Title IX sexual misconduct violation, spoke to the media this week and appeared to have limited remorse, I wasn’t shocked. Not in the least bit.
This is the culture Bob Stoops and his staff have created in recent years. This is the environment they have developed.
The accountability and record for abuse against women has been a black eye on an otherwise impressive resume for Stoops. Be it Joe Mixon, who was accused (with video proof) assaulting a woman on Campus Corner, or Shannon, or transfer Dorial Green-Beckham from Missouri, who was booted from Mizzou for allegedly pushing a woman down the stairs, and violently threatening another woman, OU’s policy has been lackadaisical, at best.
Let’s take it one step further beyond Stoops to OU President David Boren. If Boren insisted that the Sooners rid themselves of Mixon and Shannon (one year suspensions), while not accepting a transfer such as Green-Beckham, they would have never again stepped foot on OU’s campus. But, clearly, Boren supported the decisions.
Meantime, when it came to the SAE fraternity brothers who were videotaped chanting racist lines last spring (totally disgusting, of course), Boren stated, “It was unbelievable that this could have possibly occurred with UO students. Sooners are not racists. They’re not bigots. They are people who respect each other and care about each other.”
Very fair, very legitimate. I just wish he could come out so strong against his students involved in domestic abuse. Now, you want to use the word accused, at least in the case of Shannon, fine.
But, here’s a great piece of reporting from The Oklahoman’s Jenny Carlson:
“The Oklahoman obtained the Title IX report before it was sealed by a judge, and having read it, I can tell you that the real victim isn’t Shannon. In the report completed by OU’s Sexual Misconduct Office, some compelling testimony is provided by the trained sexual assault nurse examiner who examined the alleged victim. She had an abrasion consistent with blunt force trauma in an area that the examiner indicated is “one of the most common locations of injury in sexual assault.”
Carlson goes on to note in her piece, which you can read here, that sources close to the investigation say many on the investigative panel wanted expulsion. But, it was pulled back to suspension, with help coming courtesy of Clarke Stroud, OU’s VP for student affairs. Stroud, as his bio states on the OU website, works alongside President Boren. So, nothing that Stroud decides, at least not something of this magnitude, is approved without the blessing from Boren. Does it sound to you like Mr. Stroud was really looking out for the betterment of his entire student body? Not me. He must have a nice pair of season tickets at Gaylord Family Stadium. Wave those pom-poms with vigor this fall, Clarke!
Now, when it comes to these cases and situations, don’t try to sell me on the, “well the DA declined to prosecute the case”, nonsense. We’ve seen the sketchiness of that process, just ask Florida State fans.
So, based on how the University of Oklahoma hierarchy has handled various troubling events on campus in recent months, it is any surprise to you that there didn’t appear to be much in the way of remorse from Shannon this week? It was the first time Shannon had spoken with the media, and when asked about his year-long suspension he said, “It was pretty tough.” Then when asked about returning to OU, despite the suspension, he said, “One thing, I felt like … I didn’t do nothing.”
Well, the sarcastic part of me would say his double-negative is an admission of guilt. But of course, if we took every athlete that ever used a double negative at his word, let’s just say it would turn the entire sports world upside down.
So, am I the least bit surprised by the defiance of Shannon? How could I be? This is the culture that the coaching staff and the administration have shaped.
Also, I should note, sure these three young men may not be the ‘worst guys of all-time’. I’m sure they are far from it. But, what is the University of Oklahoma telling their other students, and the parents of those students, with these kinds of decisions?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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